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Jun 18 2016
by Kathryn Garelli

Why I'm Glad I Took a Senior Year Internship

By Kathryn Garelli - Jun 18 2016

During my time in high school, I had only ever worked odd jobs. In my underclassman years, I spent my weekends babysitting for petty cash to use to buy concert tickets and beach passes. I then moved onto bussing at a diner, where I worked way harder than for what I was being compensated. I spent my summers as a line cook at a beach club, slaving over a hot grill (and occasionally burning myself), absolutely envying my friends who were having the time of their lives at the beach each summer day.

When I first learned that my senior year of high school would include a mandatory, end-of-the-year internship, I hardly felt that I was prepared to enter the real workforce. I never had to interview for a position at a company, nor did I have to submit a résumé for review. I was terrified that finding a real, 9-to-5 job signified what I dreaded most: the true death of my adolescence and rebirth into an alien adult world, filled with nothing but boring paperwork and cubicles. I feared that a real, professional job would get in the way of my truly enjoying the last days of high school I would ever have.

The interview process for finding a suitable internship was equal parts harrowing and enthralling. I aimed to find a company for which to work that culminated my interests in music, filmmaking and visual arts. I found a local production company that shot films with notable artists.

My first day on the job completely upended my assumption that my days spent as an intern would be spent making copies and getting coffees for the office. I left school promptly at 11 a.m. as opposed to the regular 2:30 dismissal, eager to get to work; however, when I pulled into my parking spot, I looked down at my phone to see a message from my boss. He informed me that we would be shooting a music video for local musicians with whom he worked closely. When I arrived on set, my boss immediately handed me a camera to shoot on for the music video, confirming that I would be making more meaningful contributions to the company than that of any other intern. He wanted me to be fully immersed in every aspect of filmmaking, from pre-pro, to shooting and editing.

My biggest success from my internship experience comes in the form of the connections I made with local artists and business owners. Freelance filmmaking is an extremely collaborative endeavor, and one will succeed in it if they have the right connections. Fortunately for me, I made connections with those that my boss already had and forged my own in the art community by getting the word out about myself & my artistic capabilities and services.

What proved to be even better than the connections I made during mentorship were the friends that I made along the way. I never truly felt or understood the phrase “it’s a small world” before my internship. One strong example that I can remember is learning that one of my boss’s closest friends and business associates actually recorded and mastered an LP for my close friends’ band. We spoke about the various connections we had to people in the local music scene and how we contributed to it as artists of various trades. From this instance of networking, my boss learned that I made music videos for bands on the side and said that he wanted me to be involved in his next music video endeavor for the local bands he works with.

If there was one single thing I could take away from my internship, it would be the necessity of having a strong professional network. I have no doubt that the connections and friends I made through my job will be beneficial to me as I continue on my journey of finding a career that is right for me.

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Kathryn Garelli - Emerson College

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